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From Donors to Champions: The Transformative Impact of the Giving Challenge

As we look forward to the 2024 Giving Challenge, we also look back and reflect on the amazing impact the 2022 Giving Challenge had on our organization, CEF Manasota. We remember not only our financial success but the incredible connections we made with our community.


At CEF Manasota, we are passionate about sharing the Gospel with children through a free after-school program called Good News Club. In this club we play games and teach children how to be kind, respectful, and loving, all while sharing God’s love with them through songs and engaging Bible lessons. The clubs bring positivity and hope to the next generation, and thanks to the Giving Challenge, we have been able to spread that hope further across our community.

Because of the success of the 2022 Giving Challenge, in which CEF raised 60% more funds over the 2020 Giving Challenge, we were able to grow our impact by increasing the number of schools we had a Good News Club in by 50% in just a few short months, going from 16 to 24 schools! While this was incredible, there was another blessing we received through the 2022 Giving Challenge. We made a connection with a couple who have helped shape our organization for the better: Brandon and Rena Kurtz.


Brandon and his wife Rena had no connection to CEF Manasota before donating during the 2022 Giving Challenge. Throughout the 24 hours, the Kurtz family donated and then checked in multiple times to see the progress of our campaign. Brandon and Rena were so impacted by the Giving Challenge and the mission of CEF Manasota that they felt compelled to start donating regularly.


Several months later, Brandon surprised us by asking if he could begin volunteering in one of our afterschool Good News Clubs at McNeal Elementary, despite his demanding job and busy schedule. On top of that, his mom decided to join him as a volunteer! Brandon couldn’t believe how much he enjoyed working with kids and regularly shared this sentiment with our staff after Good News Club meetings.

Brandon made a particularly strong connection with a boy named Jaxon who attends the Good News Club at McNeal Elementary.

Because of Brandon's consistency in the Good News Club and willingness to serve, Jaxon was impacted greatly. Jaxon professed his faith in Jesus Christ during the after-school club and decided to get baptized! Jaxon made sure to invite Brandon to this special day. Jaxon's parents and the Kurtz family are now close friends too!

Brandon found so much fulfillment in bringing children the message of hope that he decided to become the team leader of the club at McNeal this year! And to top it all off, as we head into the 2024 Giving Challenge, Brandon is now also serving on the CEF Manasota Board!


But we can’t forget about his amazing wife, Rena! She saw that we needed some extra help with our fundraising, training, and family events and she jumped right in. Now she is an integral part of our office operations.


Thanks to this event, we saw a couple go from not even knowing our organization existed, to becoming a champion and owner of it. It is amazing to think about what possibilities await this ministry through the 2024 Giving Challenge, and we look forward to exploring them with you. Our goal is to be in at least 30 schools with Good News Club in the fall of 2024, and donating during this year's Giving Challenge can help make that possible!


Donating during the Giving Challenge benefits not only the organization but also the entire community! It brings people together and helps spread hope in a world filled with darkness. We can all be philanthropists and we can all make a difference simply by being a part of the Giving Challenge. For more info on how the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Patterson Foundation partner together to put on this fantastic event, and to see how you can partner with CEF to impact our community through it, visit:



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